Tuesday, September 02, 2008

CLASS OF 1998

The last class I taught at Marietta High School before I made the jump to post-secondary teaching at Washington State Community College celebrated their 10th year reunion this past weekend, and the majority of those who returned were former students. This group was a great one for me to "graduate" with...probably, with the exception of the class of 1986, the most fun, lively, motivated, highly intelligent group of students I've had all at one time. I taught these "kids" for 4 or 5 years, depending on whether they completed the five-year sequence we had in Spanish at that time.


(Starting from L to R, there's Sara (clothing designer, creates her own line of snowboarding clothing, lives in Jackson Hole, WY), Stephanie (works in corporate management for Victoria's Secret), Curtis (a lawyer in NYC), Christine (upper management with Honda), Michelle (management with a business in Columbus), Meera (just completed her MBA at Berkeley and will soon be employed with BAIN), Michael (Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Chicago), SeƱora Wilder (still teaching but NOT at the high school), Adam (behind me, an MD at Riverside Hospital in Columbus), Laura (beside Adam, a Ph.D / MD from Johns Hopkins), and Drew (a law student in Cincinnati). Missing from the group are Chuck (who's working on a Ph.D from MIT) and Mike Sieburg (who's starting graduate school at Columbia in NYC). An amazing bunch, to say the least!! I'm so proud of them.)

Being together 10 years later was as easy as if we still saw each other every day in Spanish class at Marietta High. I had forgotten that their class motto, "la luz es la verdad," came out of a cheesy play we read their senior year. I had not forgotten, however, that I was selected to hand these students their honor cords at graduation. At the time they graduated, I thought I would be returning to MHS in the fall, but along came an offer to move on, and so I left for brighter pastures. It would have been difficult to return without them around.

One of the valedictorians of the class has remained one of my best friends. Meera and I had the chance to hang out Saturday afternoon at the farm. It's been about two 1/2 years since we've been able to sit down and catch up with each other. After undergraduate school, Meera did a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in Uganda and still talks of "her village" there. She's just returned from an amazing trip to Asia and Africa, so I got to see her photos and hear of her latest adventures.

On a day to day basis, teaching can be an exhausting profession. The educational system and beaucracy never cease to mystify and puzzle me in terms of what I perceive to be a very uncreative institution with too many demands of teaching professionals. However, the reward of witnessing students grow as their lives unfolds is one of my life's great joys. I am heartened and delighted to have had the privilege and honor of knowing this group of students. They and those like them provide great hope for the future of our country and planet!! They are, indeed, some of my best friends.

3 comments:

i am very mary said...

Well said.

Brett said...

Hi to Meera! And send me her email address!

Chuck Eesley said...

Wish I could have been there! Thanks for posting the photos!